Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is Egypt Ready For Democracy?

The ongoing unrest in Egypt is hell bent on blossoming into full-fledged revolution. Egyptians are hungry, out of work, and pissed off. Hosni Mubarek must go, and nothing else will make them happy. Mubarek firing his entire cabinet and hiring a new government is nothing short of a joke to them. You can put new flesh on an old skeleton, but the disease is in the marrow.

This all creates a very disturbing situation. If a new Egyptian government comes about, will it honor its prior treaties with the United States, Great Britain, and Israel? Will the Muslim Brotherhood come to power in that nation, and declare war upon Israel, possibly touching off what could only be described as world war three?

You can hear the Bible prophecy people now, saying that this harbors the end times. Funny how none of them saw it coming from Egypt. They all thought the former Soviet Union, Iraq, or Iran would be the flashpoint.

Ah, hell. The psychics didn't see 9/11 coming, either.

One thing's for sure: The Egyptians want democracy. Bully for them! But suppose they get it? What if Egypt, the world's largest Arab nation, succumbs to democracy. What then? Would the people elect politicians who are nothing but Islamic extremists? Would they put Hamas or Al Quaida in power?

Is the Arab world even ready for democracy?

I think it helps to remember that we here in America weren't ready for democracy either. No sooner did we have a government run by the people, free from any religious dictatorship, than several states tried violating secularism by enacting an official State religion. (They all failed, of course. Separation of church and state is just plain fair. But it's important to remember that religious bastards did try their level-best to wreck everything from the get-go.) The Danbury Baptists, oppressed by the Episcopalians in Virginia, pleaded to Thomas Jefferson for help, who reminded them, and indeed all of us, that the first amendment creates a "wall of separation between church and state," which is where the phrase comes from. Hell, Massachusetts had only just recently gotten over hanging people for witchcraft at that time, and John Nelson Darby had planted the seeds of what would become today's evangelical fundamentalist whack-jobs. Our constitution lacked provision to grant freedom for slaves, guaranteeing suffering for an entire segment of the population, and planting the seeds of a future civil war. It lacked the recognition of rights to aboriginal Americans, and the newly minted United States wasted no time in systematically annexing all Indian land it could, by rook or by crook, and killing off any redskins who got in their way.

Yet in spite of ourselves, we overcame, and built a (mostly) free society, king of the world's economies, and bastion of freedom to the world. We weren't ready, but we did it. How dare we say that Egypt, a civilization far older than ours, isn't ready?

Yes, there is a very real threat that the Muslim Brotherhood, or some other Islamic-based nonsense, will attempt to take over. But I don't think that will happen. I think there's one overriding factor in that region: tourism! Egypt's tourism is its lifeblood. Everyone there knows it. And they won't dare enact any Sharia reforms that offend the infidels who want to come to their country and spend lots of money seeing the pyramids of Giza, the temples of Luxor, or the city of Karnak. The economy of Egypt depends upon cooler heads prevailing, and so they shall. They will hold their Islamic extremism at bay, at least just enough so that lots of blasphemous men and (to their eyes) naked women will come there and spend money to keep their nation thriving. And with it, will thrive their democracy. As their tolerance grows, so will their secularism. As the most populous Arab nation becomes more Westernized than ever, it will spread the taste of freedom throughout the Muslim world.

And freedom, my friends, is the most addicting drug there is.

Eric

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